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Origin of Nigerian Foods: Ikokore

Ogun State is located in South-Western Nigeria. The state is predominantly peopled by the Egba, Ijebu, Egbado, Remo, Yewa, and the Awori. These belong to the main Yoruba ethnic groups. Ogun borders Lagos State to the south, Oyo and Osun states to the north, Ondo State to the east, and the Republic of Benin to the west. Abeokuta is the state’s capital and its largest city.


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On our food history segment today is Ikokore. This pottage delicacy originates from the Ijebu people of Ogun State. Ikokore is also known as ifokore. This food is made with water yam which the Yoruba call isu ewura. The water yam for ikokore is either grated or blended to achieve a thick, viscous paste. Afterwards, it is cooked in a very rich and delicious pepper stock. Ikokore is a one pot meal that simply melts in the mouth of the consumer, leaving an awesome taste in its wake.

Ikokore is not a budget friendly food; it requires lots of protein to enrich it. It is also said that the authentic ikokore recipe calls for just scotch bonnet pepper which the Yoruba call ata rodo. In some cases, however, dry ground pepper which the Yoruba call ata gungun can also be used. Other ingredients for making this delicacy include dry fish, smoked fish, assorted meat, palm oil, crayfish, fermented locust bean, seasoning cubes, and salt.


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Ikokore is the Yoruba version of ekpang nkukwo. However, while ekpang nkukwo demands the use of cocoyam, periwinkles and vegetable, ikokore preparation requires none of these ingredients. Again, while the water yam paste for ekpang nkukwo is usually wrapped in cocoyam leaves (which the Efik-Ibibio call nkukwo) before cooking, the paste for ikokore is added in big lumps to a spicy palm oil stock. Thus, when compared to ekpang nkukwo, preparing ikokore is stress free. What’s more, adding the water yam paste in lumps into the palm oil sauce allows some of it to dissolve into the stock to form a creamy consistency.

Ikokore can be served and enjoyed on its own but it can also be enjoyed the Ijebu way, with cold eba.

Sources:

Dooney’s Kitchen

Nigerian Lazy Chef

Sisi Jemimah

Featured image source: Pulse NG


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Obiamaka Angela Udevi

Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address, obiudevi@yahoo.com

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